As the mental health reporter for the Boston Globe, Alison Bass's front-page reporting on conflicts of interest in medical research stunned readers, and her series on sexual misconduct among psychiatrists earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination. Now she turns her investigative skills to a controversial case that exposed the increased suicide rates among adolescents taking antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.
Side Effects tells the tale of a gutsy assistant attorney general who, along with an unlikely whistle-blower at an Ivy League university, uncovered evidence of deception behind one of the most successful drug campaigns in history. Paxil was the world's bestselling antidepressant in 2002. Pediatric prescriptions soared, even though there was no proof that the drug performed any better than sugar pills in treating children and adolescents, and the real risks the drugs posed were withheld from the public. The New York State Attorney General's office brought an unprecedented lawsuit against giant manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, for consumer fraud. The successful suit launched a tidal wave of protest that changed the way drugs are tested, sold, and marketed in this country.
With meticulous research, Alison Bass shows us the underbelly of the pharmaceutical industry. She lays bare the unhealthy ties between the medical establishment, big pharma, and the FDA—relationships that place vulnerable children and adults at risk every day.
Table of Contents
Martin Teicher and the Wonder Drugs, 1988-89
Rose Firestein v. New York City, 1989
Donna Howard's Quest to Help Her Adopted Daughter, 1990
The Empire Strikes Back, September 1991
Rose Firestein's Big Gamble: Suing the Pharmaceutical Industry, June 2004
The Brown Connection, 1995
Donna Howard Talks to the Press and Becomes a Pariah, January 1996
The Humiliation of Martin Teicher, October 1996
Eliot Spitzer's Crusaders Win Round One against GlaxoSmithKline but Get Knocked Off Course in Round Two, July 2004
A Tale of Two Psychiatrists Named Martin, Spring 1998
Tonya Brooks Becomes a Nomad, and Rose Firestein Fights to Protect Florida's Foster Children, 2000-2001
Donna Howard Discovers That in the Nonprofit World of Patient Advocacy, Money Shouts, Fall 2002
Rose Firestein Begins Probing the Paxil Puzzle, Summer 2003
Rose Firestein's Epiphany, Winter 2004
How Rose Firestein Found the Smoking Gun Memo and Converted the Skeptics, Spring 2004
The New York AG v. GlaxoSmithKline, June 2004
Wherein Rose Firestein Goes to Court and Annoys aFederal Judge, July 2004
GlaxoSmithKline Comes to the Table, August 2004
Martin Teicher Is Vindicated, and Rose Firestein Takes a Bow, Fall 2004
Epilogue: Rose Firestein Gets Run Over and Survives, and Donna Howard Turns Out to Have Been Right All Along
Alison Bass has covered medicine, science, and technology for the Boston Globe and other publications, including the Miami Herald, Psychology Today, and Technology Review. She has received top media awards from the National Mental Health Association and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and an Associated Press First Place Award. She has taught journalism courses at Boston and Brandeis universities and lives in Newton, Massachusetts.